Countdown to London Marathon 2010

Another year, another marathon. After missing out last year I’ll be running London once again on the 25th April 2010. Which is great as it’s a wonderful race to be part of, amazing crowds and a lovely flat route.

My training has kind of started. Well, having been off running for about five weeks I’m now back on it again but the thigh strain (or whatever it is) that kept me off is still niggling. Oh, and I’m running like an old man – much fitness to regain.

I’ll make no secret of the fact that I’m trying to run under three hours this year. I came close to that in London 2008 and still think it’s possible but I really do have to focus this time around (both in training and in the race itself).

If you want to keep track of my progress I’ll be recording every run with my Garmin. You can glance at the Garmin website or follow daveharteruns on twitter.

Countdown clock stolen from official London Marathon homepage.

Links for November 25th through November 26th

Some links for you:

  • Talk About Local (alpha) – Great list of tips – only just noticed them. Shame on me. Great work from the Talk About Local team.
  • Martha Lane Fox – Martha's Mission – digital inclusion – "I do not think it is acceptable that there is a community amongst the poorest people who are not enjoying the same access to information and the same access to savings as those who are more technically savvy." – Access to savings? She means they want more people to go shopping online, so they too can join the middle classes in killing off their local economies.
  • Take 12: Metrodome | Features | Screen – "As part of Screens year-long series tracking the progress of Nesta and the UKFCs Take 12 digital innovation programme, Sarah Cooper talks to Sara Frain (pictured) and Jezz Vernon of UK indepependent distributor Metrodome, about the challenges facing the distribution sector in the digital age." (via Roger Shannon)

Links for November 19th through November 24th

Some links for you:

Links for November 15th through November 17th

Some links for you:

Dear local councillors, fix my mom’s street

Date: 18 August 2009
From: Dave Harte

Subject: demolition/regeneration of houses on Naseby road, Alum Rock

Dear all,
I am a former resident of Hazelbeach Road in Ward End (B8 3HL) and am writing on behalf of my mother, still a resident there, about our increasing concern regarding the condition of properties and land on Naseby Road. For quite some time now, a number of years as I recall, the houses on the south side of the street have gradually been vacated and demolished due to subsidence. However, a couple of the houses still remain occupied and therefore adjoining houses remain undemolished. The street is falling into significant disrepair with fenced off patches of land between the undemolished houses becoming overgrown, vandalism on the houses themselves and graffiti appearing on walls.

My writing to you now was prompted by the relatively recent vacation and boarding up of the corner house on Naseby/Hazelbeach with the result that graffiti has now appeared on the wall facing Hazelbeach. Having watched my mother, now 78, tolerate this for many years now I feel the situation must be brought to some kind of resolution.

I spent all of my childhood, up to the age of 19, on Hazelbeach road and it is an area that I remain extremely proud of. My mother continues to live there because she too is proud of the area and feels safe in a neighbourhood and house she has lived in since 1967. Yet the appearance of her immediate surroundings are being allowed to deteriorate and I find it simply unacceptable. Ward End and the area around Ward End Park are, I’m sure you would agree, hard-working working class neighbourhoods where people like my mother have spent their working lives trying to improve. Yet here we are with the City planners content to let this situation on Naseby Road drag on for years and let a proud area descend into decay.

I implore you to do all you can to intervene and help support the residents of Hazelbeach and Naseby roads to once again feel proud of their streets.

Date: 27 September 2009
From: Dave Harte
Subject: Re: demolition/regeneration of houses on Naseby road, Alum Rock

I still haven’t had acknowledgment of this. Can you update me on progress of this query?

Links for November 3rd through November 5th

Some links for you:

  • 4 Ideas for Building Pirate Havens in #birmingham #bigdebate – Converjed – David Burden reflects on the Big Debate and contributes ideas on ways to attract the pirates.
  • The Big debate – The Big Myths – Birmingham Post – Business Blog – Me, writing over at the Birmingham Post about the Big Debate event in Birmingham on 2nd November.
  • David Byrne Journal: 10.24.09: Internet Antichrist – Epic post by David Byrne: "The end of privacy in parts of the world is near. It will be traumatic for some, and a comfort for others — for to relinquish one’s privacy is to become a part of the hive and the herd, and there is a certain reassurance there. How our corporate culture and its twin, the government, make use of this process and this massive change in society leads one to imagine something closer to a paranoid Phillip K. Dick scenario than a return to the nurturing tribe (or the Global Village) that it will be for some. I suspect it will be both — liberating and restrictive. Conflicting and opposite tendencies, operating simultaneously."

Links for October 29th through November 2nd

Some links for you:

The Big Debate – Creative Workers Unite and Take Over

Here’s my post in relation to The Big Debate event in Birmingham (2nd Nov). I was supposed to write this over on the Birmingham Post blog but I didn’t get round to starting it until the weekend before and then I discovered I lost the log-in to the Post’s blog. Ah well, here goes anyway:

big debate imageThe defining characteristic of the New Labour approach to the Creative Industries (although it’s hard to say that the previous Tory administrations had much of an approach at all) was to place the business owner at the centre of the universe. In effect to do what the Tories would have done anyway, and will do again, that is, champion the small businessman or woman over the workers.

Now I’m not intending to spark a worker’s revolt here but every aspect of government consultation on the creative industries over the last ten years concerned itself with placing industry at its heart. And quite right I suppose given the value that was suddenly placed on this set of thirteen sub-sectors (it’s worth remembering that before 1998 the ‘creative industries’ as a grouping didn’t exist). But in doing so I wonder if we kind of lost the point. I wonder if we’ve forgotten to focus on what’s creative about the creative industries.

Of course the most creative bit is the workers. Without voice at the government’s consultation table and without a union to recognise them they’re the ones feeding the machine and keeping British creative ‘stuff’ ahead of the game. They’re the ones toiling late into the night to maintain the cutting edge that New Labour traded on for so long. They kept the cool in Cool Britannia and still do.

I’m not arguing that those workers have been totally anonymous or silent all these years but given the number of creative industry initiatives they’ve really not had a chance to be heard. Yet one of the interesting aspects of the rise in social media has been to suddenly give them a platform. Everyone from receptionists to studio managers are blogging or on twitter or facebook. Their chatter foregrounds and exposes the creative process in a fascinating way. It shows the intricate web of relations that exist between what you might think of as competing companies. It reveals the kind of creative banter that makes the industry tick, gives it its heart.

Of course it doesn’t reveal long hours and low pay, not with their bosses also keeping a close watch on proceedings. But maybe that’s exactly what it could do; to galvanise and to give voice to the crucial role workers play. At the very least it demonstrates what a tight knit group there is within and across sub-sectors of the creative industries – and ‘tight knit’ is exactly what you need if and when you find you need to fight your corner.

I’ve always thought that given it’s a made up grouping we need strong sub-sectoral trade bodies rather than a single creative industries one. But perhaps what we actually need is a period where we focus less on business owners and instead value the hard work and creativity of creative workers. And given the Tories might be back at the helm, maybe what the workers need most of all is a Union.